Reaching #AtoZChallenge #SixMonths #ZombieBlogHop

Jun 16, 2019 | Fiction

Six months into 2019 and I can’t even remember where I hid my resolve for safekeeping, I thought. I began clawing, frantically, through the contents of my shoulder bag. Jerry would kill me if I’d lost another pencomm, already. Two, just this month! Pricey ones, too. Running my index finger along an unfamiliar, serrated edge of dull metal, I paused to peer into my purse – “The Abyss,” Jerry called it – and pulled out a small bit of cheap brass shaped like a key.

It wasn’t mine.

I had seen keys in the curio shop, so I knew what it was. But why was this small relic lying at the bottom of my bag? No one used keys, anymore. Everything opened with a handplate, these days. If you were supposed to enter, it let you. If not, tough luck. Biometric devices had replaced the illusory security of locks and keys long before I was born. I hadn’t seen a lock outside the Museum of Santa Clara, so a key was not of much value to anyone. Some people liked to decorate with them, but I’d never understood why. The oddest part was, it looked…new. I just sat there, pondering.

Jerry must be wondering, by now, if I’d stood him up. We’d had plans, and I was running late.


Six months into 2019 and I felt as though I was already six months behind. I’d come out to the park, as I did most Wednesdays, to enjoy a peaceful, sack lunch and gather my thoughts before the afternoon staff meeting. Time to get my game face on. I reached into my bag for a bright, plummy lipstick to make me look less cadaverous. Maybe I could pass the dark circles around my eyes off as that trendy, “smokey” look, but not with lips that looked fresh from a morgue fridge. As I pulled out my lipliner, or what I thought was my lipliner, I stared for a moment, perplexed. That’s not lipliner, I muttered. But what the hell was it? It looked a bit like a pen, but there was only a convex bit of glass where the point should be.

Just then, the slender cylinder began to emit a low, strangely pleasant, hum. Turning it in my fingers, as one might twirl a pen, I felt the delicate click of a button, and the humming stopped. “Hey!” I heard a man’s voice, close enough to make me jump out of my skin. “Where have you been? I’ve been trying to reach you for the past hour!”

“What?” I whirled around, but there was no one nearby.

“We had plans – for tonight, remember?”

The “pen” was talking to me. I peered into the barrel of the thing. “Ouch!” I yelped. A bright flash of light had blinded me for a second, and I’d dropped the thing. As I bent to pick it up, I noticed the tiny man staring back at me, hands on his hips, looking bemused, and comically angry.

“Who the hell are you?” we gasped, in unison.


To be continued…


I received this tag from Parul at Happiness and Food, and I am passing it on to Shilpa at A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose!

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Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.

40 Comments

  1. Corinne Rodrigues

    Now you’ve got me wondering about who the hell he was, and wanting to read the back story!

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Oh, there’s more coming… πŸ™ƒ Well see if I can keep you hooked till we all find out what’s going on!

      Oh, you thought I knew? πŸ˜‚

      Reply
  2. Damyanti

    Not fair, Holly. Don’t keep us hanging–come on!! πŸ˜€

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      This will be an exercise in patience – yours AND mine!

      Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      This is especially funny after our conversation this weekend. πŸ™‚ How long can I keep you hanging on, Damyanti? One month? Four? I am pretty sure I haven’t got 11 years of this in me like my friend Claudia. See https://denvercereal.com/about But who knows? I’ve ripped open a seam in the universe, here, and neither of us knows what’s coming (or going)…

      Reply
  3. Unishta

    Like everyone else, you’ve got me thinking too. But is the pencomm real or pretend ( as my granddaughter would ask me? Sorry, but I get so confused with what is real and what is not these days. Somethings in real life are so strange and somethings in the make-believe world are so realistic.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      All right, I’ll give you this one: it’s real.

      Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      … at least as real as anything in fiction. It’s real to my protagonist.

      Reply
  4. Shilpa Garg

    Wow! That’s an intriguing and interesting start to a story!! Looking forward to the next part!! πŸ™‚

    Reply
  5. Balaka Basu

    I had a smile on my face while reading this post. Looking forward to the next part Holly.

    Reply
  6. Parul Thakur

    That is so cool! And you were right. I would not have guessed this in my wildest imagination πŸ™ˆ
    Looking forward to reading more.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      LOL – I just didn’t want to do the half year retrospective. Privately, it’s good to reassess. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to read it, though, any more than I wanted to WRITE it! πŸ˜€

      The story’s been kicking around in my brain for a while. An offhand comment by another friend, on Facebook, gave me the “hook” I needed, and with her permission I stole it. There’s another, similar, story that I’m wanting to write, and I may end up making an anthology of them.

      Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      BTW, the next installment goes live in about 20 minutes.

      Reply
  7. Shinjini

    Now I’m curious! Who was the man? And is this one of those many worlds/time travel stories? Oooh! I’m intrigued!

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Let me know when you figure it out! πŸ˜‰ Next post is up.

      Reply
  8. Shalini

    Ah, you’ve got me thinking! I will check out the previous and next part too πŸ™‚

    Reply
  9. Reema D'souza

    I’m really curious. I enjoyed reading this.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      I am so glad! Let’s see how long I can keep you intrigued between now and “The End”! πŸ˜€

      Reply
  10. Vinitha

    What an intriguing story, Holly! I want to know what happens next. Will read the rest. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Thank you! Hope I can keep you reading through the end! (I have no idea when that will be. As I’ve been discussing with my friend Alicia, I’m a “pantser” – making it up as I go. I’m fascinated by the “plotters” of the world, who can outline and do character sheets and make a roadmap to follow, but it’s not my natural way of telling stories. So odd, even to me!

      Reply
  11. Aesha Shah

    Hopping to the next part right away. I am glad I read this today so I didn’t have to wait for a day to know what happens next.

    Reply
  12. Shilpa Gupte

    What happens next??? Pray, tell us fast, Holly!
    I love reading such ‘futuristic’ kinda stories or watching such films. I always wonder how life will be 50 years from now. Will it be as they portray in films?
    Waiting for the next part.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      But it’s six months into 2019… πŸ˜³πŸ€”πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  13. Sunita Saldhana

    What happens next? What happens next?

    Reply
  14. Anamika Agnihotri

    I know who was that? Alien. Alien, it was. And that pen wasn’t a pen, it was an instrument from the Men In Black guys trying to erase the woman’s memory. Without a doubt, six months from now she will still be saying the same thing – ‘I am six months behind.’
    I loved the storytelling here πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      LOL, you do realize that according to my TOS, all ideas freely given in comments are mine too steal?

      But for that, I’ll give you two insider facts: not an alien, and not a memory eraser. Also, if it’s a pen, it’s a very bad pen. It has no ink!

      Reply
  15. Apeksha Rao

    More please! I wanna know who the tiny guy is. Very well written.

    Reply
  16. Anagha Yatin

    Wow! Seems to be a futuristic SCiFi. Oh man… I am hooked. Cant wait to see how it unfolds, Holly.

    Reply
  17. Mahati ramya adivishnu

    That’s amazing.but, stranger coming out of pen is a bit scary. Would love to read the next part.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Don’t worry! He went back. 🀣

      Reply
  18. Geethica Mehra

    This piece of fiction is really intriguing. I want to read the other stories related to it. Wish you loads of luck for the coming years.

    Reply
  19. Magical Mystical Mimi

    Looking forward to more of this. That little man sounds creepy!!!

    Reply
  20. Debbie D.

    Zombie Bloghop? Sounds intriguing as does the story! There must be more, yes? I’ll be sure to browse around and check.

    Reply
      • Debbie D.

        Read R-U. Is there more after that? Scary to think this might well be a glimpse into the future.

        Reply
  21. Gilly

    Wow – where can I get one of those pens! πŸ˜€ I’d like a little man to sit on my desk and discuss ideas with me while I’m working. That would be so cool. Can’t wait for the next part.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Hahahah… I wish. I’m first in line for the future in which I invent it! Or not, depending on how this story goes.

      Reply

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